Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

Kosher Consciousness

The kosher laws are supposed to raise an awareness of what we eat and a sensitivity to the needs of all living creatures–that is why the disconnect between kashrut and the humane treatment of animals is so discordant to Jewish values.
However, eco-kosher is not only an issue of demanding humane kosher slaughtering, as Rabbi Waxman raises, or even of prohibiting kosher veal where humane treatment is lacking, as was raised by the Conservative Movement this past year. Eco-kosher is really about drawing on our kosher consciousness to limit the negative impact our food and consumer choices have on the earth.

We can make a difference by buying locally produced and organic products and reducing our meat consumption. We can make a difference by wasting less. Such decisions support sustainable agriculture and better stewardship of the earth. When done in large numbers, true change can occur as market forces encourage shifts in the practices of agribusiness.
Our consumer power has been the focus of several efforts by the faith community. Joan Nathan’s recent article in the New York Times, “Of Church and Steak,” discusses this and was highlighted by Leah Koenig at the Jew and the Carrot.
Some might argue the only way to be truly eco-kosher is to be a vegetarian. However, I don’t think folks having chicken soup on Shabbat or a hot dog at a summer barbecue are the problem. The point of eco-kosher is not about being a food purist, but meeting the challenge of living our lives in moderation. That is really the essential lesson behind eco-kosher: to live our lives in better balance with the earth by living, and eating, with kosher consciousness.

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment

posted August 24, 2007 at 7:10 am

The OU in California recently had a banquet featuring “unusual” kosher food. A film of roaming elk was followed by a dish of elk. The Jewish Vegetarians of North America ( staged a protest.

report abuse


posted August 26, 2007 at 10:48 am

I hardly think that concerning oneself with whether or not an animal chews its cud or has cloven feet or if a fish has scales qualifies as “being sensitive to the needs of all creatures”
Elk sure are majestic. I saw some up close in Banff a little while ago. But they would look even more majestic roasted on a plate.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in ...

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe ...

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s ...

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the ...

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced ...

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.